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The Hem of Jesus’ Garment

An Icon in the “shiver series”


In the Gospel of Mark (chapter 5) the writer tells a powerful story of how Jesus healed a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years. She was too filled with shame to come directly to Jesus but she merely touched the hem of his garment and the bleeding stopped. Immediately Jesus noticed that someone had touched him and the power had gone forth from him. He asked, “Who touched me?” The woman came in fear and trembling, fell down before him and told him the whole truth, how she had been an outcast from the society and lived in shame. No one would even touch her. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”


I read this story and then heard about a retreat leader who made hem-like cloths for each person in the group, so they could also touch Jesus’ garment. I felt God asking me to use my sewing gifts to make such hems for people who need any kind of healing; spiritual, emotional, physical, cultural, relationship. I chose fabrics that also speak to the healing process; beautiful, loving, vibrant, soothing, radiant.


This woman wanted her story told so that anyone who felt unworthy of healing or was outcast in any way, would feel the courage that she felt, allowing her to reach out and touch Jesus hem, for healing. She wanted to show that telling Jesus the truth or our lives is the most healing moment. It allows us to go out in peace too.


Feel the love and healing power of God flooding your soul as you reach out and touch this hem of Jesus’ garment.


How have you been put aside in some way but family, church, or society?


When have you felt the courage to reach out to Jesus for help or for healing ?


How has telling your story to Jesus or to another person helped you to heal?



Hands of Reconciliation

An icon in the “shiver” series: Janet O. Hagberg, artist, with Joseph Mallard


Listen, O people, in the silent chapel of your heart; and the Beloved will speak of peace to you, to the hidden saints, to all who turn their hearts to love. Surely new life is at hand for those who reverence love; O, that harmony might dwell among nations… Restore us again, O Spirit of Truth; burn us with the refining Fire of Love! We cannot live separated from you; cast out demons of fear, doubt, and illusion. Revive us again, we pray, that your people may rejoice in You! Have compassion on your people, O Holy One, and grant us our salvation. Psalm 85 excerpts, Psalms for Praying, Merrill


Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity! It is like vistas seen from atop a mountain one has climbed…or like the stillness of a sunset after a long day’s work. It is like a shimmering rainbow breaking through a summer rain. When men and women dwell in harmony, the Star of Truth appears! Ps 133 Psalms for Praying, Merrill


To you I lift up my Spirit, You who are enthroned in every heart! For, as the young child holds tightly the hand of its parent, as those in the throws of disease look to one who brings them comfort, so our spirits seek the Heart of Love, that we might find mercy and forgiveness. Have mercy on us, O Compassionate One, have mercy, that we might turn from our blind and ignorant ways. Too long our souls have been veiled by fear; have mercy, lead us to the path of wholeness. Ps 123 Psalms for Praying, Merrill




This icon emerged from the idea that people can choose to be part of the solution in the racial reconciliation process, each in his or her own way. My mentor, Joseph Mallard, who is an African American male agreed to draw his arm and hand on a piece of cloth for me. And then I, a white female, drew my hand and arm as well. I put them together to depict an icon of people working together to reach the heart of love in all of us. We chose to represent racial reconciliation but this image could also depict family reconciliation, brothers and sisters, males and females, friends, or colleagues. We hope this image spreads far and wide and gets healing conversations going.




What message of reconciliation do you desire to bring to the world?


How will you go about doing that with your gifts and skills?


With whom, if anyone, do you have a desire to reconcile?



Just a note to say that 10 of Red Sea Band icons are on display at Taraccino Coffee shop, located at the interesection of University Ave and E. Hennepin Ave in NE Mpls. (right next door to the Brueggers and kiddy corner from Surdyks). They will be there until the end of July.

Here’s one of them: Tamar on snare drum.

I hope you enjoy them.  Janet


Hello Friends,

This week is a big week in my studio. I have an icon exhibit, The Red Sea Band, opening at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, MN. It’s at 4200 Pilot Knob Road and Diffley Road. It will run from next Sunday, June 29th through Labor Day. If you want to hear the powerful stories of the Red Sea Women’s Band take a trip out to visit. I am attending the 10:00 service there next Sunday if anyone wants to join me. Today, I am including Bathsheba, one of the band leaders in this post. She’s playing the blues on her jazz saxophone. And she has blues to play!


And the second gift I am giving to the world this week is a bite-sized book on kindle, called Where is God in Illness? It’s only $2.95 and gives hope and a healing message to those who suffer from illnesses and those who love them. Go to and type in my name (Janet Hagberg) to see this book. The cover depicts a strong tree growing in a barren place. This is the second bite-sized book in my four part series. Another one is due next month, Where is God in Divorce?


Bathsheba on Jazz Saxophone

Bathsheba on Jazz Saxophone


Bathsheba on Jazz Saxophone

Bathsheba was secure in her marriage to Uriah, one of King David’s loyal military leaders. But David saw her from his balcony bathing privately and wanted her for himself so he had her husband deliberately killed in battle. The child he had with Bathsheba died as a result of his actions but Bathsheba eventually birthed Solomon. When the time came to select a new king she got a commitment from David to anoint Solomon and he became one of the wisest kings ever to rule Israel.

Bathsheba is honored in scripture as mother of Solomon and as one of only five women in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1.


Read more of her story in 2 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 3:4b-5, 1Kings 1:1-48, Song of Solomon 3:11, and Matthew 1.


Bathsheba endured many difficult things in her life and she told me that music was a way she expressed her pain. She chose to play the blues on her saxophone in the Red Sea Band.


How do you respond to Bathsheba’s story and her icon image?

When have you suffered as a result of someone having control over you?

How did you reclaim your own voice?





The Burning Bush

Exodus 3: 1-12 (NRSV)
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law …
and he led his flock beyond the wilderness and came to Horeb…
There an angel of the Lord appeared to him

in a flame of fire out of a bush;
he looked, and the bush was blazing yet it was not consumed…
God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

And he said, “Here I am.

And he said; “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground…I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery

of my people who are in Egypt;
I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters.
Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them
from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey…”

© Janet O. Hagberg, 2007

Reflections on this icon

When has God appeared to you in an unusual way?

How did you respond?

When have you stood on what felt like holy ground? Where?

How is God being “fire” in your life now?

What is the call from God in the midst of your experience?


For the next several weeks I will be sending images and quotes and verses about the all consuming love of God. God’s love for us and desire for us to come closer starts with that little spark that he ignited in our souls when we were born. More about that later.

My hope for you this whole holiday season is that you will allow snippets of time to take in the pervasive love of God–in a traffic jam, while sipping coffee, hugging a friend in crisis, longing for a lost love, gazing at the beauty of the season, feeling the hush of anticipation that your own rebirth is imminent. I invite you to welcome the nativity right here in your life.

I will start off with an icon I made of a person (me!) being consumed by the fire of God’s love. Take it in. Feel the warmth. Lean in. Calm down. Open your heart.


Consumed by God's Love

Consumed by God’s Love


Miriam Leading the Women in Celebration

This quilted icon depicts Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, leading the women in celebration after crossing the Red Sea. Since women were usually marginalized in that culture, it is unusual for a woman to be named a prophetess and even more unusual to lead anything!

“Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously…'” Exodus 15:20-21

I call this hearty group the Red Sea Band!

I chose to name the women after my favorite women in scripture and give them more modern instruments. So from the top clockwise are Miriam, with the necessary casseroles, Tamar on tamborine, Lydia on electric guitar, Mary Magdalene on drums, and Hannah on Native American flute.

Janet O. Hagberg, 2013. All rights reserved.

Reflection on this icon:

What most attracts you to this icon?

Which woman do you most identify with and why?

How has God triumphed in your life?

What makes you want to dance and sing?

2012-04-27_16-59-25_905Please stop for a moment in this busy holiday weekend to remember all the people who were killed in the CT elementary school shooting. One of the 1st grade victims was Charlotte, the grand daughter of a subscriber to this blog. Charlotte’s mother is from Edina and one of my best friends, Bobbie, is the sister of the grandmother so Charlotte is her grand niece.

It is a time of shock, deep sadness, anger, disbelief, grief, fear and confusion. What we do know is that God is weeping with us and is surrounding all of us in comfort and love. Clouds of witnesses and angels are everywhere holding the whole community affected by this tragedy. So imagine, if you will, that the angels (like in the icon above) are gently cradling these little children and the adults and taking them on their backs, covered by quilts and nuggled by other angels, directly to God’s lap. They are now safe and held deeply in love. Pray for the family, for Charlotte’s ten year old brother and for their whole extended family. Also pray for the perpetrator’s family and extended family who are affected by his act. All of these lives are forever changed.

Most of us feel so helpless in times like these. This blog is my way of doing a small thing to act on my grief. So if you would like to add comforting comments for the family on my blog that would be one thing you could do. I also just posted a chapter from my book on the death of a loved one (in the November archives) that may help you to understand your own feelings and the feelings of the family. If you would like to do something more, the icon that is posted here is hanging in the prayer chapel at Central Lutheran church on 12th St and 3rd Ave in Mpls in case you want to go and pray with it.

I offer you all a few excerpts from the hymn, Great is Your Faithfulness.

Great is your faithfulness, great is your faithfulness

Morning by morning new mercies I see

All I have needed your hand has provided

Great is your faithfulness, Lord unto me

And this is the verse I drew from my discernment cards today: Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you. Ps 55:22


“ New Life for Dry Bones”

Ezekiel 37 (NRSV)
He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?”
I answered. “O Lord God, you know.”
He said, “Say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord…
I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live…
and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

Psalm 23:6 (NRSV)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

© Janet O. Hagberg, 2007

Reflections on this icon

What do you see in this icon that speaks to you?

When have you felt as if you were just a pile of dry bones?

How has God asked you to speak to your own “dry bones” situation and let God breathe new life into you?

What wisdom or gratitude has emerged from your dry bones experience?

 “With a New Heart and a New Spirit”

Ezekiel 36: 26-28 (NRSV)
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Proverbs 2:9-11 (NRSV)
Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you.

© Janet O. Hagberg, 2007

Reflections on this icon:

What do you see when you look at this icon?

How have life’s troubles caused your heart to turn to stone?

How will you claim God’s promise to put a new spirit within you and live long in the land God has created for you?

In what practical ways do you seek prudence, knowledge, understanding and wisdom in your daily life?

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